Customers have high expectations of rich and indulgent choices during the Christmas festivities and a cheeseboard is a firm favourite. Great to finish a meal or as a sharing platter,here’s how to make it exceptional.
“For a truly indulgent, festive cheeseboard put aside your everyday dairy choices and try a selection of premium continental cheeses that offer different textures and flavour strengths which will cater for all palates,” says Craig Brayshaw, commercial director at Eurilait Ltd.
How to store
Cheese will keep longest when stored in the fridge. To allow the cheese to breathe, wrap in waxed or greaseproof paper – avoid using cling film as this can encourage too much moisture to build up, promoting mould growth on the surface of the cheese. Remove from the fridge a couple of hours before you plan to serve, as this allows the cheese to come to room temperature and helps develop a fuller, more aromatic flavour and creamier texture.
How to serve
A 50-60g portion of cheese per person is recommended, and a selection of four cheeses is advised. Crackers or artisan breads, festive chutneys and fruits such as figs, grapes and apple slices should be complimentary additions to your cheeseboard – chocolate and honey both work well too.
To wine or not?
Red wine is typically partnered with a cheeseboard, however, it doesn’t always make the perfect match. Cheeses vary hugely in moisture content, fat content, texture and flavour, while wines vary in acidity, sweetness, body and structure. Finding the correct match is not always straightforward. There are many cheeses, such as goat’s cheese and blue cheeses that are much better suited to a white wine that will not overpower the flavour of the cheese. Contrasting flavours can work very well, for example, a sharp blue cheese may be perfectly complemented by a soft sweet wine. Also, consider beer, cider, Champagne and port – all can make excellent cheese partners and are a refreshing change from the norm.
Cheese & drink pairings
•Full flavoured, soft ripened cheeses – Gewürztraminer, Chablis or Sauternes white wines, a red pinot noir, an Abbey beer or cider
•Blue cheese – a white Bordeaux, a red Shiraz, dark beers, tawny port or Oloroso sherry
•Cheddar and British territorial aged cheeses – white Burgundy, red Cabernet Sauvignon, strong ale, medium dry cider or port
•Strong cheese – full bodied reds
•Mature cheese – sweet/dessert wines, such as Sauternes and semi-sweet Rieslings, pale brews for the lighter, younger maturities and stronger darker ales for the most mature varieties
Sources: Eurilait, Džiugas